What is a Charter School

A charter school is a public school operated by a group of parents, teachers, and community members that is responsible to—and runs autonomously from—the school district. Our "charter" is a contract between Ridgeline Montessori and Eugene School District 4J. The charter spells out the school’s goals, standards, accountability plan, education design and curriculum, governance, and operations. Ridgeline is a nonprofit corporation with a volunteer board of directors.

While charter schools resemble public alternative schools in Eugene, there are differences. Charter schools have access to start-up and operational monies in the form of federal funding awarded through the Oregon Department of Education. Ridgeline Montessori has been awarded more than $255,000 in charter school grants to purchase equipment, instructional materials, and furnishings; provide professional training for staff; and cover other costs of starting and running an innovative educational program.

A charter school also has flexibility in staff certification. While half the teachers must be Oregon-certified, Ridgeline also employs Montessori-trained teachers, whose certification process is separate, specialized, and rigorous.

Ridgeline Montessori is among about 250 public Montessori schools in the United States today, some of which are also charter schools.